Phono LE: Testbericht


LE MK IV : Testbericht


NCSE : Testbericht

Phono

Howard Popeck:
"What’s your design philosophy on phono stages in general?"

Answer by Dr. Richard Brew:
"All LFD Products (including phonostages) obey our primary requirements of simplicity of design, obsessive passive component selection and fanatical attention of the layout of PCB and PSU development!"

 

Howard Popeck:
"How, if I’ve got this correct, is the MCT’s outstanding sound in part due to your R&D on the battery powered phono stage commissioned by SME?"

Answer by Dr. Richard Brew:
"The Battery Disc preamplifier was the ultimate statement of the LFD philosophy, all other LFD phonostages are compromises. That’s what SME commissioned me to design and built to help their R&D teams to engineer their turntables.
This device is NOT available for retail! However, the MCT is trying to get close to the battery disc preamplifier sonically – using all my experience of passive selection (the circuit is, frankly, mundane i.e. just an IC feedback circuit with transformer coupled input to give good noise performance). This circuit should never sound this good, but passive components (important) and multiple diameter silver cables (very important) produce a seriously good sound."

 

Howard Popeck:
"What can you reveal about the input sensitivity and gain?"

Answer by Dr. Richard Brew:
" he gain can be increased by 6dB by soldering link on PCB, but 60dB gain at 1kHz is a very good compromise for a MC phono stage."

 

Howard Popeck:
" Why are external loading controls are, in the context of your design, clearly irrelevant? Or put another way, how you achieve this incredible performance without all the other paraphernalia that adorns some other state-of-the-art phono stages? "

Answer by Dr. Richard Brew:
"Circuit complication of expensive phonostage are a DISADVANTAGE. (Dr Bews' capitals, not mine) Take for example input loading. LFD use special resistors like Shinko Tantulum resistors (no longer in production, but I have approx 10,000 in stock, which cost me over £20k) in the MCT which is much more important for sound than changing loading with poor sounding metal film resistors using poor quality switches. EQ components are very important, and the capacitors used in the MCT are obsolete capacitors. They have a special sound which can never be reproduced by other types of capacitors. It’s lucky I have 1000's of these in stock!. Like cooking, use the best ingredients and cook properly – to produce a very good meal."

 

Howard Popeck:
"What currently in your view is the limiting factor on phono stage development – other than R&D time?"

Answer by Dr. Richard Brew:
" Design is probably not the limiting factor – it’s probably the PSU quality, layout and passive component selection. Advances in these areas will push the sound forward until we can hear the circuit – but I think that currently we hear more of the implementation of the circuit design, rather than the sound of the circuit itself. We do a SE version of the MCT where improvements in the PSU (SE is £4k retail) that makes the sound have much more foundation, with blacker silences, i.e. a noticeable and worthwhile improvement."

 

Howard Popeck:
"For people with vinyl-only systems who do not want to additional circuitry of a preamp, what would you advise as a no-compromise external volume control. A passive unit perhaps?"

Answer by Dr. Richard Brew:
"MCT with any external passive volume control will compromise the sound of the MCT because you will hear the pot (it’s a passive preamp effectively). The tonal balance of passive preamplifiers are typically not sonically correct (lacking in bass slam, but are often open and transparent), and this bass slam deficiency  would need to be addressed. This can be done, i.e. switched attenuators and multiple diameter silver wiring. Unfortunately though – to do this properly, this section would cost more than the MCT itself! Most passive preamplifiers are not good enough in some sonic respects and the best of them are as expensive as mains-driven linestages. My advice is to choose the best sounding mains preamplifier you can afford, since you not going to save money in the long run. As the Americans say, there are no free lunches."

 

Howard Popeck:
"Any advance information on an Anniversary phono stage – even though it doesn’t appear in the current product listing?"

Answer by Dr. Richard Brew:
"Anniversary phono stage, if I get around to it – which is doubtful currently – is going to be based on a mains powered version of the battery disc stage. Unfortunately it is going to take a VERY long time to produce anything sonically better than the MCT (or SE version of it) as it is currently, since the these are rather good, i.e. they are the best sounding mains powered phono stages regardless of price – as you and your customers have discovered."

 

Howard Popeck:
"Would an MCT with onboard volume control (not remote though) for dedicated minimalist vinyl enthusiasts ever be considered by you?"

Answer by Dr. Richard Brew:
"A MCT with volume control may be possible with modification to MCT phonostage section, so that the volume control matches with MCT phonostage section to give very good sound that approaches MCT in combination with very good linestage (or very good passive pre). Do not expect this product to be under £5,500 retail."

 

Howard Popeck:
"A bit steep for a volume control isn’t it i.e. another £2.5k?"

Answer by Dr. Richard Brew:
"The cost of the volume control is miniscule. So are the mods to the case work. However for reasons I’ll explain at some later point on your site Howard, the physical position of the circuit board has to be changed. This in turn requires a lot more of the complex 5 different diameter high purity silver strands I mentioned earlier. It is a complex task. And that’s just the tip of this iceberg."

 

Comment from Howard Popeck:
"Some of the techniques he uses to get the incredible performance from the MCT are beyond my comprehension. Some are currently beyond belief. The point being that while the MCT is without doubt the most musically credible phono stage I have ever owned, let alone heard, a full interview (complete with my write up of some of the demonstrations he’ll conduct for me in private) will need to follow – in due course.He’ll demonstrate (and I hope I’ll be able to hear, and he assures me I will – if I don’t go to any more Who gigs for a while) the sonic differences between very high purity silver single strand internal interconnect cables (which he doesn’t believe is good enough) versus his own multi-strand high purity silver interconnect using 5 different and precisely calibrated diameter strands, which he does use in the MCT. I should explain that the LFD MCT is an anonymous heavy black box with a pair of input RCA sockets and a pair of RCA output sockets and an IEC mains input – and that’s it. No controls, no adjustments and not even an on/off button."

 

Information is provided by stereonow

 

 

Following phono stages are offered by LFD  

  • Phonostage MMC (New casework) - a MM /MC phono stage; 43K ohm impedanz;  Gain: 38dB (low gain setting) and 53dB (high gain setting)
  • Phonostage MCT (New casework) - a  MC phono stage; 430 ohm impedanz; Gain: 60dB

        No further settings available.

 

 

 MMC phono stage:

     

 


RIO: die kleine EOS


EOS: verstellbarer Hochtöner


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